Tending bar at the safari guesthouse, I serve a drink to a young American man who resembles the actor Robert Downey Junior. After exchanging a few pleasantries, he confides that he is a compulsive womaniser. We gorillas are used to hearing such confessions from humans, who often confuse us with their shrinks.
“I pretend to be gay,” he says. “Women love having gay boyfriends who’ll go shopping with them and tell them their ass looks great. The gayness puts them off their guard and they soon start hugging and kissing me. After that happens, I just pick the right moment to stick my nose between their hooters.”
“What if they object to being caressed in that fashion?” I ask.
“They never do,” he replies. “Women are vain and can’t resist the idea of turning a gay guy straight. It makes them feel special.”
“What a sly fellow you are!” I exclaim. “Don’t try it in the Congo, though. Pretty boys who pretend to be gay over here end up in the tent of a tribal chief.”
I later reflect on the women deceived by this wily seducer. What went through their minds when the man-friend who said he was gay started nuzzling their jahoobies? Clearly, emotion and wishful-thinking must have clouded their judgement. The lesson for nubile women everywhere is clear: the man who talks gay but pets straight is not to be trusted. He is probably a devious bounder with dishonourable intentions.
Having said all that, it is noteworthy that there are men in America who can feign gayness without feeling shame. This is a social advance to be applauded. Obviously, they must drop the act when they’re in a redneck bar or riding with the Hell’s Angels, but that’s just a matter of common sense. You don’t go for a swim in a pool full of sharks.
Not so long ago, it was gay men who pretended to be straight. Some, like the cowboys in Brokeback Mountain, even married women to camouflage their true nature. Apparently, women who perform this function are called “beards”. I learnt of this terminology when Chris Martin (the pop musician) referred to Gwyneth Paltrow (his wife) as a great beard. He was obviously joking, but it was still an ugly slur. No A-list actress should be given an epithet which befits the bush sprouting from Brian Blessed’s chin.
Do beards still exist in the modern world? Some people have jumped to the conclusion that George Clooney’s latest girlfriend is a beard, merely because she used to be a professional wrestler. That doesn’t follow at all. Being attracted to a female who can put you in a headlock has nothing to do with being gay, as any male gorilla will tell you.
I do have a suspicion that Britney Spears is an unwitting beard, though. Her current boyfriend is a narcissistic fellow called Jason Trawick, who co-starred with Britney in her latest pop video. Their simulated sex scenes were so unconvincing that Britney had to grope a couple of pillows to portray her ecstasy. A man who allows pillows to steal his love-scene obviously isn’t performing with his first choice.
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